Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…
It was the dawn of creation, the seas were teeming with life, birds filled the air, flowers bloomed, trees blossomed, and it was good.
On the sixth day of creation, immediately preceding a day of rest, God created humans.
God said, “Let us make humankind in our own image.” Genesis 1:26
We are the crowning jewel of creation; we hold a unique position of privilege, and have been entrusted with the responsibility of caring for planet earth. We are made in the image of God. Might I ask today, “What does your image of God look like?”
The answer to that question will go a long way in determining how you live and how you will die.
For much of human history, superstitious people have had a distorted image of the mysterious Master of the Universe. The church often encouraged this misrepresentation to “keep the common people in line.”
The church believed that a little fear, the fear of hellfire, eternal damnation, worms feasting on your flesh, devils poking you with spears, would scare the hell out of you.
And for the most part the church was correct. A little fear would go a long way in convincing common, mostly illiterate, peasants from sinning. To some degree this unfaithful distribution of misinformation was successful. God was seen as a menacing, angry figure just waiting for the opportunity to judge and condemn.
What is your image of God? Who informed that image? Is that image Biblical? Is it consistent with the greatest and most complete revelation of God that we have been given, namely Jesus? Can we trust a God in life and death who is ashamed of us, and anxiously waiting to condemn us? Can we trust a God who might inflict us with cancer, strike us with disaster, or take our children from us?
We were created in the image of God. God is love. Love is patient and kind, slow to anger, and abounding in grace.
If it is your desire to see God, then look to Jesus. No sinner feared Jesus. Jesus was the friend of the downtrodden, outcast, and broken. The Master of new beginnings, Jesus told a thief on the cross that “today you will be with me in paradise.” Jesus was only feared by the religious people. His truth was a threat to their lies. They were threatened by his inclusive love, they were afraid that they would lose their positions of power and their hold on common, mostly illiterate, people.
What is your image of God? How did that image come to hold sway over you? Gospel means “good news.” If the Jesus story is not good news, then you have never really heard the Jesus story. If you live your life in fear, then you are being held captive by a lie; the essence of God has been misrepresented to you.
God is love: God is eternal, God is merciful, God desires only good for you, God is your beginning and your end. The loving hands that knit you together in your mother’s womb will hold you in death and welcome you home. God is not made in our image, male or female. God is love, and we have been created in God’s image that we too might love.
Look to Jesus and see God.
My love to you,